Three studies presented during the American Society of Nephrology's Annual Kidney Week provide new information on diet and blood pressure in kidney disease patients.
Nimrit Goraya, MD (Texas A&M College of Medicine) and her colleagues investigated whether adding fruits and vegetables to the diet can improve the health of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Alkaline therapy is used to treat CKD patients with severe metabolic acidosis (when there is too much acid in the body). Dr. Goraya and her team looked to see if adding fruits and vegetables—which are highly alkaline—can benefit CKD patients with less severe metabolic acidosis. For the study, 108 patients were randomized to receive added fruits and vegetables, an oral alkaline medication, or nothing. After three years, consuming either fruits and vegetables or the oral medication reduced a marker of metabolic acidosis and preserved kidney function to similar extents.
"Our findings suggest that an apple a day keeps the nephrologist away," said Dr. Goraya.
Another team led by Deidra Crews, MD (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) wondered whether poor dietary habits might help explain why poverty is linked with CKD. In their study of 2,058 individuals, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium intake were lower, and cholesterol higher, among those in poverty. CKD was present among 5.6% of people in poverty, and 3.8% of those not in poverty.
"An unhealthy diet is strongly associated with kidney disease among poor individuals. Dietary interventions tailored to meet the needs of this population may help to reduce disparities in kidney disease," said Dr. Crews.